Our congregation has been sending men and women to participate in the work of Christ’s people in the Rio Grande Valley for six or seven years. In that time, a couple of groups have crossed the border and visited Mexico. Others have toured with the US Border Patrol and seen the Rio Grande and looked into Mexico. We have shared deeply and widely with our partners and our hosts, and it’s been a great gift to our congregation and neighborhood over the years as people have come back changed as a result of the time invested here.
In 2015, though, we have been someplace we’ve never been – right here in Texas. The “chemistry of the company” on our team, combined with the deep faith and graciousness of the families with whom we have served, has immersed us in a sense of connection and relationship that is deeper than that we’ve seen in previous trips.
One of the “rookies” on the trip is a man goes by the nickname “Libby” (it’s a long story). Libby is a co-worker of Mike’s who has also served alongside our congregation’s feeding ministry with “The Table”. When he heard about this trip he was eager to be a part of it. We were glad to welcome him, as Spanish is his first language and we can always use a translator on site. It has been a rich experience in all kinds of ways, and one of the things that Libby has enjoyed is sharing memories of his childhood in Los Lorenzos Guanajuato, Mexico. As we have spent our days immersed in the Mexican culture of the neighborhoods, Libby has helped us understand the culture and history of many of the people with whom we are spending time.
I mentioned in an previous post the amazing hospitality that we’ve received. Yesterday, the homeowners with whom we have worked cooked us a hot meal for the second time in as many days – home made flour tortillas and beans and eggs and… oh my. As we sat and enjoyed the food, the conversation, the sunlight, the sounds and smells and friendship, Libby looked at me and smiled and said simply, “You’re in Mexico now, Pastor.”
We didn’t cross the border, but we’ve lowered some boundaries. And that is a good thing. I think there is something gospel-ish about that.
And, of course, we did a little work.
God is good, and we have known, seen, felt, and tasted that in a new way this week. Thanks be to God!